WAfter the Mariupol maternity hospital attack, the husband of a heavy pregnant woman came looking for his wife, who described her with tattoos and earrings, Alina Busner had to tell him she was dead, and took the man to the morgue to identify the body.
“He was completely quiet until he found her,” she said. “Because he told us, until the last moment, he believed it was not her. Then she cried a lot. It was a very sad situation.”
The yet-to-be-named woman, with a pale face and a bloody left waist, is one of the defining images of the horrors performed during the siege of the southern port city by a film crew stretched out in the rubble. Several politicians, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky, have called the attack a war crime.
Russian officials said at the time that patients and staff had been evacuated and that Ukrainian military targets were at the site, although there was no evidence to support the claims.
According to Busner, head of the telemedicine department at the regional intensive care unit, two buses of stunned and bleeding women and children arrived at the hospital for treatment, even for days or even hours. Day, 9 March.
“When the maternity hospital was attacked, we were still with the police in the city,” he said. “A police car came to our hospital and said they were going to pick up the women. We were told that we did not have the right circumstances to treat them, but we had no choice in the matter.
“We did not have a specialist, only a neurologist, a gynecologist and a gynecologist. The woman in the figure was beaten to pieces and lost a lot of blood. We tried to save her, but we could not.
After the attack, one of the women gave birth to two children – a boy and a girl. Three more babies were born, some by caesarean section. However, they came to Buzunar Hospital to deal with a new problem: it fell under Russian occupation.
On March 11 or 12 the crew took refuge in the basement (it is not known what caused the pusher stress), and heard gunshots. “The Russian soldiers said: ‘Lie on the ground or we will start throwing grenades at you,'” he said, “they came to the hospital.”
“They spoke to the management not to interfere in the work of the hospital. The main thing they asked us to do was not to leave. They said whoever did it would be shot.
It was a tense and stressful time. She could not leave the premises, so she lived in the basement, sleeping on sofas and chairs with colleagues, while two or three armed soldiers were stationed at each site – first the Russians, then the separatists, he believes. The men were aggressive, repeatedly threatening doctors with machine guns, and turning the first site where they had been the administrative office back into a military base.
The Russians soon evacuated 2,000 civilians from nearby homes with no way to feed them or put people to sleep, Busner said. At the same time, the governor of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Girilenko, said on Facebook that patients and civilians were being held hostage at the hospital by Russians and used as human shields.
Olha Kolupchenko, director of the hospital, helped protect the staff from Russian soldiers and “helped us stay brave and strong,” Busner said. He said he had negotiated with the troops and stood between them and the public.
The hospital worked to treat civilians and soldiers with stab wounds and bullet wounds. The Russian soldiers were quickly evacuated to other places, while the Ukrainian soldiers who were unfortunate to be in the hospital when the Russians arrived were treated as captives, Busner said.
“It was already very difficult because we did not have a lot of medicine and could not see the windows due to the explosions. It was freezing, minus temperature, so all the patients were kept in the corridors,” he said. Then a tank came and started firing at the hospital. One of the staff ribs was broken and all the patients lying on the porch seemed to be on the open street as the walls were destroyed. All of those patients died. “
Amnesty International says Russia’s indiscriminate attacks on protected sites, such as public places and hospitals in Ukraine, violate international humanitarian law.
Busunar, who fled to western Ukraine in late March, said he had asked Russian troops why they had opened fire on the hospital and could not answer. She has no pictures or video of what happened because people leaving the city are being forced to wipe their phones by Russian soldiers. Dozens of evictees also said their phones had been checked.
Hospital staff were told they could not leave until they were replaced by other medical professionals by Russian forces, but Busuner said he had now brought in new workers from separatist areas and that he had been able to escape.
Now she faces the complex task of coping with her psychological trauma. “When you work, you try not to show that you are scared. But now I’m even afraid to stand by the window because I’m waiting for a sniper to shoot me,” he said.